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EDUC 5313 Week 2: Authentic Intellectual Work

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Part 1

Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) seeks to move past the typical traditional school work of memorizing facts, and instead give students tools to engage higher level thinking and put their work in a context that goes beyond just success in school but moves it into real world problem solving. I think back to my own public school education in the 1980's and 1990's, and how most of it was the opposite of what the AIW framework seeks to achieve. It was a lot of rote memorization of facts and concepts with no real application to how our education could apply to real world issues we would face. The three criteria in the Authentic Intellectual Work Framework are Construction of Knowledge, Disciplined Inquiry, and Value Beyond School (Newmann, King, & Carmichael, 2007).

Construction of Knowledge in a basic sense means using prior knowledge evaluating new information to solve novel problems. You are "constructing" a solution to a problem rather than repeating what has been done before. Disciplined Inquiry is what must guide Construction of Knowledge. The components of Disciplined Inquiry are prior knowledge base, in-depth understanding, and elaborated communication. Prior knowledge base is of course utilizing previously attained knowledge and building upon it in academic pursuits. In-depth understanding is having a complex understanding of your knowledge base to be able to use that knowledge in solving difficult problems. And finally elaborated communication are the various tools students use to "conduct their work and present its results".

An example of authentic intellectual work in the field I would like to teach, theatre arts, would be for a student to write and produce an original play. They would use their prior knowledge of having read plays from other playwrights and other narrative works to construct a new play. Seeing through the work from page to stage would involve a number of complex steps, each relying on the previous to be able to successfully be accomplished. Elaborated communication would be key in every step of the process. Writing and re-writing the play, and seeking feedback to rewrite some more, holding auditions and casting the play, and organizing rehearsals would all require high level communication with all parties involved. Breaking down the script into dramatic beats, and then communicating those beats with actors in order to craft the desired performance would also be required.

Part 2

Part 3


Kolb, L. (2020). Learning first, technology second in practice. Portland, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Newmann, F. M., King, M. B., & Carmichael, D. L. (2007). Authentic instruction and assessment: Common standards for rigor and relevance in teaching academic subjects. State of Iowa Department of Education.

Office of Educational Technology. (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 National Education Technology Plan update. Retrieved from

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